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Classical Music Highlights for December

December 5th-11th

We begin the month with the much anticipated first release from tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Grigolo waited to record this first operatic solo album until he had something unique to communicate in the repertoire and has chosen arias representing the culture he comes from. Included are selections from three giants of the lyric stage Gaetano Donizetti, Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.

December 12th-18th

"Despite the human and political tragedies surrounding the colonization of the South-American continent, the multipolar musical culture that resulted is distinguished by its fiery spirit and passion." So writes Matthias Maute in the liner notes for Salsa Baroque. Here the ensemble explores music of 17th century Latin-America with both works of indigenous origin and those inspired by the transplanted culture of Spain.

December 19th-25th

This week WFIU offers two new recordings for the holiday season. The first, "The Cherry Tree" combines songs, carols and ballads from 15th-century England with 19th century American hymn tunes and carols. And the latest from Opening Day Records "A Very Merry Christmas" features the Canadian Brass and a host of friends performing holiday favorites.

December 26th-January 1st

We've been remembering Frederic Chopin through 2010, the year that would have marked his 200th birthday. So it's only fitting that we conclude the year with another record dedicated to this master of the piano. Award-winning pianist Irena Portenko guides the listener through two sets of Chopin's études.

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